'Commercial Builder's Assistance' Under Review | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

Airborne Unlimited-
Monday

Airborne-Unmanned w/AUVSI-
Tuesday

Airborne Unlimited-
Wednesday

AMA Drone Report-
Thursday

Airborne Unlimited-
Friday

Airborne On ANN

Airborne 06.18.18

Airborne-UnManned 06.19.18

Airborne 06.20.18

AMA Drone Report 06.21.18

Airborne 06.22.18

Airborne-YouTube

Airborne 06.18.18

Airborne-UnManned 06.19.18

Airborne 06.20.18

AMA Drone Report 06.21.18

Airborne 06.22.18

Mon, Aug 07, 2006

'Commercial Builder's Assistance' Under Review

FAA Charters Panel To Discuss Changes To 14 CFR 21.191

News and Analysis by ANN Correspondent Mark Sletten

The FAA has decided to review the requirements of 14 CFR 21.191, the rules regarding amateur-built aircraft. According to FAA Order 1110.143, dated 07/26/2006, current guidance on the subject of amateur built aircraft has not kept pace with technology or the market. The order directs the formation of a committee to assess the current rules and, if necessary, recommend new ones.

You may remember last year's dustup between Aircraft Investor Resources (AIR) and the FAA when their first Epic LT customer was initially denied an experimental Airworthiness Certificate. The Epic LT is a complex, 6-pax, turbine-powered aircraft built of composite materials.

After requiring both AIR and their customer to provide additional documentation regarding the build process, the FAA did begrudgingly grant a certificate, but one has to wonder if that experience started the slow wheels of bureaucracy turning toward a recent look at the industry, at large…

The meat of 1110.143 charters the yet-to-be established committee to define commercial assistance within the strictures of the traditional 51% rule. Additionally, the committee will "identify and define the regulatory, directive, and policy changes needed for the FAA: to perform oversight of builder or commercial assistance; to convey to applicants their responsibilities when using builder or commercial assistance; and to convey to the providers of builder or commercial assistance their responsibilities to the applicant and the FAA."

The FAA will select the committee membership from "industry associations and/or organizations" with AIR-200, FAA manufacturing and engineering field representatives, AFS-800, AFS-300, EAA, and Kit Manufacturers specifically mentioned. As for public participation: Unless you are a committee member you must get permission to attend any meeting. Public comments to the committee must go through a committee member.

Why all the fuss? Frankly, some of today's kit aircraft are capable of remarkable performance, which can be had at a fraction of the cost for a comparable certified aircraft.

A fully-loaded Columbia 400SLX is slightly less than $600,000. A Lancair ES-P fast-build kit (an outwardly similar airframe to the certified Columbia) is $112,500; throw in another $200,000 for an engine and avionics, thousands of hours of sweat equity, and you can have Columbia performance for slightly more than half-price (not counting your labor) - pretty appealing for someone willing to work for it.

In the pre-Rutan era -- when the current rules were established -- carbon-fiber and glass-foam-glass construction techniques allowing complex, aerodynamic shapes (and those oh so sexy curves) were impossible. Mix modern construction with a turbine engine and one can bake up a fire-breathing, pressurized, 400 knot dragon that can easily carry 6 or more people -- at least that's the fantasy for some builders!

The reality is only the most knowledgeable and experienced of home builders possesses the requisite skills to complete this fantasy project. Realizing this -- and that many builders are frustrated with the length of the build process -- some kit manufacturers and commercial enterprises have obligingly offered "builder's assistance."

The strategy is that with assistance fantasies can be fulfilled; you'll get your kit completed in less time and always have an expert at hand to help when necessary.

All of this "helpfulness" begs the question: Can one complete a project of this scope without assistance? That, apparently, is what the Feds want to know.

While no specific accusations have been made, the fear seems to be that some "wanna-be" airplane manufacturer might try to "game the system." Specifically, a manufacturer without the means (or desire) to go through the aircraft certification process might circumvent it by marketing and selling an aircraft as a "kit" of such complexity that you must build it at the factory.

Obviously, this would not be in the best interest of public safety, and would unfairly disadvantage legitimate aircraft manufacturers that follow the rules -- not to mention jeopardizing a long-standing rule that allows one the freedom to build one's own aircraft.

FMI: www.faa.gov

Advertisement

More News

AMA Drone Report 06.21.18: NC Drone Summit, AMA v Raleigh Regs, Yuneec Typhoon H

Also: ERAU UAS Program, UK Drone Rescue, ANN/AMA Oshkosh Coverage, Fat Shark 101 The North Carolina Department of Transportation is planning a Drone Summit and Flight Expo for Augu>[...]

Airborne-Unmanned 06.19.18: Mexican UAV Fights Crime, Spokane Drones, Ikhana!

Also: K2 & Robotic Skies, Autonomous Aerial Vehicles Competition, K State Grad Cert, Commercial Drones at JFK A drone operated by authorities in Ensenada, Mexico, led to a sign>[...]

ANNouncement: Now Accepting Applications For Oshkosh 2018 Stringers!!!

An Amazing Experience Awaits The Chosen Few... E-I-C Note: There's very little we can say yet, but there is a reason why this may be THE year to throw in with ANN to cover the extr>[...]

It's On--Again! EAA/ANN Announce 2018 AirVenture Innovation Preview!

Stunningly Successful Innovation Program Draws Hundreds of Thousands of Eyeballs to ‘All Things AirVenture’ E-I-C Note: We're tremendously excited to work with EAA agai>[...]

Aero-News AirVenture Update: This Is So Cool! #OSH18COOL

We Need YOUR Help To Find AND Celebrate The Coolest Stuff At EAA AirVenture 2018, #OSH18COOL Stuff that’s new is cool… we get it… that’s why we’re b>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2018 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC